Is A Person’s Sex Important In Addiction Recovery?

couple fighting

In the world of addiction recovery, everything matters. Your childhood, medical, and mental health history, your social network, your home environment, behavioral patterns, thought processes, choice of drug use, time you began drug use, and more all tell a part of your story. This is what makes customized treatment so incredibly important – because each person is different, and there is simply no one program that can tend to the needs of the different variables that constitute a person’s life story. Just as these variables matter, sex can make a difference in the way progressive changes occur within your brain after exposure to drug use, how your body responds to drug use, and whether you develop addiction after drug-related encounters.

A 2017 study conducted by researchers from Michigan and published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research emphasized several differences between men and women regarding addiction:


  • May experience more pleasurable responses to drugs than men
  • More likely to self-medicate than men
  • Escalation of drug use, such as moving from gambling to drug addiction, is more rapid for women than for men
  • Female smokers have reported more severe withdrawal symptoms and greater stress than men do
  • Women have been found to be more likely to relapse than men


  • Men are more likely to engage in peer pressure activities relating to drug use than women
  • Men experience slower escalation of drugs than women
  • Men may be more stabilized at lower doses of drugs than women
  • Men experience more severe withdrawal symptoms when it comes to alcohol than women
  • Previous research has shown that men have longer periods of abstinence than women but, when they relapse, they tend to do so more sporadically

By understanding the diverse ways in which both sexes are affected by drug use, we can create a better framework for providing the best care possible, depending on the patient. If you are beginning your journey to recovery, be sure to tell your program’s intake counselor all the details you possibly can so that they can customize your program to provide you with the best care possible.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.